An additional theme for this website: Rewilding

The focus for the articles on this website has always centered on healing and awakening, with occasional articles on culture, society, sustainability, art, and other topics I find interesting.

From now on, I will also include more articles on rewilding and regeneration.

It’s not a new interest to me. I have been fascinated by and passionate about nature and sustainability since I was little, and that includes what’s covered by rewilding and regeneration.

On this winter solstice (2022), we moved into our tiny house with a large backyard on Finca Milagros. This backyard is fifteen hectares in Cañon del Chicamocha. And I wish to devote a good part of my life to supporting this land to become a more thriving and diverse habitat for plants, insects, birds, and animals.

That will, by necessity, be reflected here since I tend to write about what I am interested in and what I am currently exploring and living.

The rewilding posts will be a kind of chronicle of what we are doing here, and they may be interesting to or useful for others.

And, yes, I know that rewilding is a problematic term. It cannot be done in a literal and complete way, and it’s not possible (or even desirable) to bring this ecosystem back to how it was in precolonial times or even before humans came here. When I use the term rewilding, it’s in a much more loose sense. For me, it’s about supporting the ecosystem to thrive, become more diverse, and become a good habitat for the insects, birds, and animals that are here. I wish to support it in becoming wilder.

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WordPress hosting

I just switched host for this website and thought I would say a few words about it.

This website was first hosted on Blogger which was an early blog site. It was perfect for what I did initially.

A SMALL ORANGE – DECLINING QUALITY

Fifteen+ years ago, I switched to WordPress to have more control and options for look and functionality. (I wrote a simple script to transfer the Blogger posts to WP.)

Until yesterday, I used A Small Orange (ASO) as a host and I was very happy with them for the first several years. They were responsive, helpful, and professional.

Some years ago, I started noticing that their service seemed to get progressively worse.

The most crucial problem is that they didn’t update PHP and this creates a lot of problems for a WordPress site. PHP is what WordPress runs on, and an outdated version of PHP is both a security risk and creates problems for how the website functions. For instance, I have had increasingly more problems with plugins that are unable to run on the old version of PHP offered by ASO.

They were running PHP 5.6.40 for my WordPress site, and the current version is 8.1.13. (5.6.40 was released in 2014!)

Why wouldn’t they update PHP? After all, it’s free software and I imagine it only takes a push of a button from their side to update it. I am not sure what the answer is.

But I am certain what my answer is, and that is to switch to another host that runs the current version of PHP.

In addition to the PHP problems, I also noticed a decline in their customer service. They used to respond immediately and were skilled and helpful. These days, it can take days to get a response, and it’s often not very satisfactory.

SITEGROUND – INFINITELY BETTER

I switched to SiteGround and am very happy with their service so far. They respond within minutes and they seem professional, skilled, and helpful.

And they are, as any responsible host, running the current version of PHP.

20-YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

I have been going through a few things on this website as part of the switch, and noticed that the first entry was on December 27, 2002. That means that this blog has been going for almost twenty years!

In the backend, I see that there are about 13,482 articles listed, although only 9007 have been made public. I don’t really know how many unique visitors have been here but a rough calculation tells me that the website has been visited somewhere between 1/2 and one million times. Since a lot of what I write about is quite niche, the content is not for everyone. But I hope at least some have benefited from something here.

Update

I have written less lately so thought I would give a brief update.

My time in Norway is coming to an end for this time. It was an unusual summer, with both my parents and myself ending up at the same hospital for different reasons. (Heart, covid, septic shock.) They are also planning to sell their house, which is the one I grew up in, so there is a lot to go through and many decisions to make. These days, my wife and I are having a house built – in the traditional technique and with local materials – on the land we are stewards of in the Andes mountains and we will go there in not too long.

For all of these reasons, I haven’t written much here. That may change in not too long. We’ll see.

For now, I thought I would add a list of notes for possible articles with the most recent ones first. I may still make some of them into articles. The list is below.

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A few notes on writing

I am under no illusion of being a very good writer, but I have discovered a few things based on my own experience.

The best approach to writing for me seems to be:

  1. Write down the topic with a few ideas that come right away.
  2. Set it aside and let it digest. During this time, I typically investigate the topic in my direct experience and write down a few words about what I notice. Apart from that, I don’t think about it very much if at all.
  3. When the topic feels sufficiently digested, I write an outline and sometimes add to it as new insights and ideas comes to me.
  4. And when it feels sufficiently digested for an article, write the article. If I allow time for digesting in this way, the writing typically happens quickly and easily.

The time for digestion varies but usually goes over a few days. And sometimes, I combine step one and two and change the outline later after some digestion and exploring,

When I find myself satisfied about what I have written, it’s usually when I wrote the final text fast and easily after allowing enough time for digestion and expiration.

If I struggle with a text and have to revisit and rewrite, it usually means I didn’t allow enough time for digestion, direct investigation, and outlining. No matter how much I rewrite, it typically feels disjointed and as if written by committee.

It often helps to set it aside completely and go back to the beginning. I may do a new outline. I explore it in my direct experience. And I write the article from scratch. Then, it often comes out fast and easily and feels much better.

And sometimes, I write fast and easily without this process, and I am initially happy with it. As the topic has more time to digest in me, I typically realize I left out something important or I wish I had organized the text differently. And I may rewrite it.

The digestion process leads to a better product. And equally or more important, it allows me to explore the topic more thoroughly and discover something new and surprising to me, which feels far more satisfying. Surprising myself, even in a small way, makes it worth it.

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Philosophy or noticing

Many or all of these posts may appear as philosophy. 

If we don’t notice for ourselves what they are about and are not familiar with it, then the only way we can relate to it is through and within thoughts. We relate to it at a story level, and then it will appear as philosophizing. And since they are words, they inevitably form a kind of philosophy.

If we notice for ourselves what it is about and are familiar with it, then the words become pointers. What they point to may be alive to us as we read it. 

If we are engaged in practices and inquiry to find this for ourselves, then these words may be taken as pointing to something we may find in the future.

We can also use these words as pointers for a more intentional exploration here and now.

We can explore to see if we can find what they point to here and now. After all, any map is a reflection of what’s here now. And we can do this in several different ways. We can find the words and mental representations here and now, and notice they are mental representations. (Guesses about the world. Maps. Pointers for exploration. And with no final or absolute truth.) And we can see if we can find what they point to here and now. Sometimes, what they point to will be psychological dynamics. And sometimes, our nature.

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A part of me says “what I write is too obvious and banal”

Almost everything I write here seems too obvious and banal to me.

And that tells me a few things.

If I stretch myself more when I explore these topics, it may feel more meaningful to me.

The voice saying “it’s too banal” reflects an issue in me.

And since I sometimes experience it as “I see it as banal”, it shows me that I have some identification with this part of me.

THE REALITY & SOME REMEDIES

The conscious response to this isn’t too difficult to find.

Yes, I can of course stretch myself more. I can go beyond what’s familiar if just a bit each time.

What I write will be obvious and banal to some, and not to others. It will resonate with some and not others.

And in any case, I can find a way to explore and write that benefits me. That’s what makes it the most meaningful to me.

My question for me is: How can I explore these topics in a way that’s more alive and meaningful for me? How can I write about it in a way that’s juicy and resonates more?

One answer is to be a little bit more honest and transparent each time I write, and also to engage more systematically in quiet exploration before writing, going a bit beyond what’s already familiar to me.

Another question is: What are the emotional issues behind this? What do I find when I explore it? How would my perception and life change if there is some release around this?

And why don’t I stretch myself more? What’s the fear?

THE BACKGROUND

The essence of near all the articles here is something that’s been very familiar to me since my teens. It was already revealed to me during the initial opening or awakening movement when I was fifteen and sixteen years old. It’s been familiar to me since. So that’s one reason all of this feels a bit too familiar and, in a sense, obvious and banal. (Of course, there has been some movement, and I have read a lot since and learned and explored different more structured approaches.)

At the same time, I have an issue about not being good enough. As a kid, I often experienced being mocked or rejected when I spoke up in or outside of class. I was a nerd and usually knew the answers to the teacher’s questions, and sometimes far more from all the reading I did on my own. I learned that if I spoke up, it wouldn’t be good for me socially. So I learned to hide and not speak up.

These two patterns have stayed with me, to some extent. When I have explored spiritual groups and I have spoken up from my own experience, I have often been met with dismissal. The rare times I speak up (in real life or online), I tend to shed light on something from a slightly unusual perspective for the group, and it’s met with dismissal and in a patronizing way as if I don’t even get the basics. In general, I very rarely speak about any of the things I write about here, and I keep this blog anonymous. Most people in my life don’t even know I am interested in these things. (Or they only know I am interested in one particular approach and not the rest.)

I hide.

What are some of the beliefs and identities behind this? The obvious is that I am not good enough. It’s safer to stay hidden. It’s dangerous to speak up. It’s dangerous to be visible.

And here are some surface thoughts that come from this issue ball: This is too obvious. It’s naive. It’s banal. Others know far more than me. Others can express this far better than me. (And that means I don’t need to. It’s better if I don’t speak up about this.)

To protect me from being dismissed, I dismiss myself and what I have to share before anyone else does it.

Synchronicity: As I wrote “It’s dangerous to be visible”, Michael Jackson sang “there is no danger”. (From “Another part of me”.)

BEFRIEND AND WAKE UP

I am exploring this using the befriend & wake up approach.

I invite in the “It’s banal” contraction.

I notice the contractions in my body – in the face, throat, chest, and belly.

I feel the sensations. Notice the (endless) space they are happening within.

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me.

I repeat this a few times until I notice a shift. Some of the tension falls away. There is more of a befriending.

I stay with this for a while and occasionally repeat:

You are welcome here. Thank you for protecting me. I love you.

I notice it’s all happening within and as I am. The contraction too is the divine. It’s the divine temporarily taking that form. It’s the divine wishing to experience itself as that too.

I ask what the contraction wishes for. What are its needs and wants? What’s the sense of lack?

I notice it needs support. (And remember I didn’t experience support from anyone during the difficult childhood situations I mentioned above.) I stay with this. I notice the contraction is receiving support.

I stay with this for a while.

I notice a mix of what can be labeled anger, sadness, frustration, hopelessness, and more within this contraction.

I thank life for giving this to me. For organizing itself in this way here.

I again notice it’s happening within and as what I am. It has the same nature as everything else in my world.

I stay with this. I allow it to reorganize and realign within this noticing.

OTHER WAYS TO EXPLORE IT

There are many other ways to explore this.

I can use ho’oponopono for this contraction, and for me having lived with it for so long.

I can use tonglen for myself having lived with this contraction, and the limitations it has created.

I can explore painful beliefs within and related to the contraction, and underlying and more essential beliefs. I can identify them using a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, and investigate through the four questions of The Work of Byron Katie.

I can explore any identifications, fears, and compulsions inherent in it using Living Inquiries. I can invite the “glue” holding certain sensations and painful stories together to relax and soften.

I can dialog with this part of me, and related parts of me using Voice Dialog and the Big Mind process.

I can invite the issue to heal and wake up using Vortex Healing.

I can intentionally do the opposite of what this issue tells me to do, and see what comes up in me and how it goes.

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Mystery of Existence Facebook Group

I have set up a Facebook group called Mystery of Existence.

This group is about the topic Mystery of Existence and is only indirectly connected with this website.

Please join if you’d like to join in our shared exploration of who and what we are, and how we are in the world.

We aim to create a welcoming, inclusive, and mutually supportive atmosphere.

The group emphasizes personal experience, is open for anyone, and is not affiliated with any particular tradition.

Go to the Mystery of Existence group on Facebook

A brief note on these articles

When I write here, I prefer to write brief and simple articles that highlight a few essentials and offer some pointers for further exploration. I tend to avoid topics that require brushing up on mythology, depth psychology, and so on, to do it justice. And I avoid going into complexities that may be more appropriate for a much longer article or a book.

Why do I stick with short and simple articles?

There are a few reasons. It’s easier for the reader to take in. And in many cases, some brief pointers are enough for us to continue exploring it for ourselves. I often find that a brief quote or even book or chapter title is enough for an interesting exploration.

Another reason is my brain fog. I don’t have much capacity for either reading or editing, so anything beyond a simple and short article is difficult. Most of these articles come directly out of me and what I notice here and now, and don’t require any (additional) reading or studies from my side.

I do often mentally reference what’s left in me from what I heard or read about the different traditions, just to check and see how it fits.

Because of the brain fog, I haven’t read or taken in much information for the last ten years. This is in sharp contrast to my earlier life where I read voraciously – in periods three books a week. I did have plans for writing books, but those plans are on the shelf (pun intended) for now.

There is an upside to this as well. I have to rely on what’s here in me and what I discover through my own explorations. And that’s an invaluable gift.

Note: This post is a modified section from another article – The value in the dark

What’s unique in these writings?

I am writing these articles mostly for myself, and I am also aware that some can be helpful to someone else.

In that context, I sometimes wonder: What’s unique here? Is there anything people can’t get somewhere else?

In its essence, nothing is unique here.

If it’s grounded in reality, direct noticing, and experience, it’s been discovered by others and likely many others through history and even today. It’s all been said, one way or another, by someone else, and sometimes in a more clear, direct, and perhaps poetic way.

At the same time, we all have a unique voice. We all have somewhat different backgrounds, insights, experiences, and ways to talk about it. And someone may resonate with just this way of expressing it.

There may also be some ways of making distinctions or some terminology that’s a little different here. For instance, I like to use the phrase who and what we are to differentiate between our human self (who) and Big Mind (what). I also like to differentiate between the small and big interpretations of awakening, or the psychological and spiritual ways of understanding and talking about awakening.

And, as everyone else, I have my own blind spots, biases, hangups, and things I haven’t discovered or consciously explored yet. Those inevitable limitations also color what I write.

Is anything here original?

As usual, the answer is yes and no.

It’s original in that we all explore slightly different landscapes and have our own perceptions and flavors in how we express it. For instance, I tend to differentiate between respectively who and what we are, and small and big interpretations of awakening, and although I am not aware of others talking about it that way, I assume there must be others who make the same differentiations with same, similar, or different words.

And it’s not original. Just about everything here are things others have discovered and talked about. It’s about reality so of course many will discover similar things. (Or have the same misunderstandings!) We are all exploring and learning about the same or a very similar landscape, so it’s natural if our experience is relatively similar and if the maps we create are similar.

In what way is existence a mystery?

I have written other posts about mystery of existence – which happens to also be the name of this website – but thought I would revisit it and see what comes up.

In what way is existence a mystery?

That anything exists at all is the greatest mystery of all. It’s the one I can’t even begin to get a sense of or intuit. How come there is something rather than nothing?

A more conventional mystery is all the things we can know something about but don’t yet. A lot of these are things we don’t even know we don’t know. And some, probably a minuscule portion, is what we know or suspect we don’t know.

Then there is the mystery inherent in what we think we know. Any story is a question about the world. It points to one facet of something, and there are many other stories that may fit it equally well or better or at least give us a valuable insight and perspective about what the story points to.

And then there is the mystery inherent in everything. Our stories have only a pragmatic function. They help us orient and function in the world. They have no ultimate or final truth in them. What they refer to is ultimately a mystery to us, no matter how much we tell ourselves we understand it.

Even when we recognize all as consciousness and what we are as consciousness, all is a mystery.

For me, it’s helpful to notice all these ways existence is a mystery. It helps me find receptivity and curiosity, and it helps with holding stories about everything and anything a little lighter.

Emphasizing who or what we are… or both and their interactions

Most people in the world obviously emphasize who we are. They live as if they mainly or exclusively are this human self and naturally focus on that.

A few, and especially nondual teachers, tend to emphasize what we are. They emphasize the awakeness we and everything is and everything happens within and as. They may even emphasize the void all of that happens within and as.

I understand why they do it. It’s a compensation for what the majority of people do. Most people emphasize who we are, so these nondual folks instead emphasize what we are.

And yet, both seem a little one-sided. For me, it’s the combination of the two that is most interesting.

When what I am notices itself, how does who I am live within this new context? What happens with who I am? How does it reorient? What happens with all the parts of who I am that were formed in the context of duality? What happens when what I am becomes more clear to itself? What happens as who I am gradually learns to live within this new (and timeless) context?

That’s what most of the articles here are about. Not exclusively who I am as this human self. Not exclusively what I am as the awakeness all experience happens within and as. But the combination and the interactions and how it all unfolds over time.

Of course, they are not really two and there is no interaction or combination. And at the same time, there is – in a sense.

In my everyday experience, there is a sense of interaction between the two. They are one, two, and neither.

And although I acknowledge and am interested in the one and neither, I am – for whatever reason – particularly interested in and fascinated by the (apparent!) interactions.

I should mention that it seems to be more the first generation nondual folks in the west who emphasize what we are. These days, most seems to acknowledge both and the interactions. I guess that’s a natural progression.

Life 101

Most of what I write about here is Life 101.

It’s simple, and – for me — essential.

And that’s why I write about it.

I wish to contribute, in a very small way, to a society where (some of) these things are seen as basic and essential.

It may be helpful to some of the people reading it. (For me, it’s always helpful to be reminded of the basics. And I know it’s helpful to me to find others with similar experiences and interests as myself.)

And, in the best case, it’s helpful to me when I write. It allows me to explore, clarify, and remind myself. The more sincere I am, and the closer to immediate experience, the more I benefit and the more likely I am to be surprised by what I discover.

A nice church sermon?

I feel that the way I write here is often like a nice church sermon. It stays on the surface, although where it comes from is often gritty, complex, and from a lived life. As long as it stays at the level of a nice and somewhat impersonal sermon, it’s less interesting to me and probably to others as well. So I want to bring more of the juiciness of a lived life into it. I want to make it more gritty. I want to be more vulnerable. I not only want but need to be more real. For me to continue writing, it needs to be more real. I want to bring more of myself into it. 

What I write are pointers for myself

We teach what we need to learn.

That’s very clear for me with these articles. The pointers I share here are for me.

If I finish and article without taking time to intentionally apply it for myself, it feels incomplete. And when I do, it completes it.

Of course, what I write does come from my own immediate experience. And I do go into it before writing to make sure it’s alive and I can discover more about the topic, or at least remind myself about it. And yet, it makes a difference when I take the main pointer from the article and intentionally apply it after the article is written.

In The Work of Byron Katie, this is what they call Living Turnarounds. I take the most juicy pointer from the inquiry and apply it in my life. That’s how the work comes alive in me and my life. That’s how my insights ground in real life. That’s how I get to see what’s left.

I sometimes tell myself that if just one person benefits from what I write here, it’s worth it. By applying my own pointers after writing a post, I make sure at least one person benefits from it – and that’s me. And if one other person benefits as well, that’s wonderful. That’s icing on the cake.

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11,111 items

A little while ago, I reached 11,111 posts on this blog…! Not all of them have been published (some never got beyond the draft stage and some are still in process) but it’s still a large number. I have had this blog since 2002 so that explains it to some extent.

The rest is explained by writing almost every day for most of the time. So that brings up the question, why is that? Why the slight compulsion? Why the urge to write here? 

I think there are several answers. The immediate answer is that I notice something or something comes to mind, and I feel an impulse to write it down.

I also notice a few other things: There is a fear in me to let it go without recording it. (It seems valuable so I don’t want to “lose it” or forget it.) I typically don’t have that many around me I can talk about and explore these things with. (When I do, I write less here.) I may find a use for some of it later. And some of it may be useful for a reader.  

The first and second ones are definitely something for me to notice and perhaps explore further. 

In any case, thanks for visiting this collection of (at one point) 11,111 articles!  

Mystery of existence

In a conventional view, we may see some things as known (building a car, the function of the heart) and others things as unknown (dark matter, the fate of the universe). Some things are known, other things are a mystery. 

But really, all is a mystery. Our understanding is provisional at best. A guide to help us orient and function in the world. As I often say, there is no final or absolute truth in our ideas and understanding. They are not the final word about anything. 

In an ordinary sense, we can always learn more, we can see things in a new context or within a new worldview or paradigm, we can see it from new perspectives. 

And in a very real sense, it’s all a mystery. It can’t be touched by thought or our human understanding. This is the context of our human life and that’s why I decided to call this website Mystery of Existence. 

The title of this website is a reminder that our understanding is provisional. A question about the world. It opens the door to humility rooted in reality. 

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What makes a good blog post?

What makes a good blog post?

Specifically – since it’s what I tend to write about – what makes a good article on healing, maturing, or awakening?

Here are some features that come to mind:

Personal. It comes from and is based in my own experience. It’s something I have tried out and have some familiarity with. And when I include my own experience as an example, it grounds it in real life. It also helps if I reveal sides of myself and my life I may be a bit embarrassed to reveal since it connects with the reader and makes it feel a bit more personal.

Practical. Include practical information that allows the reader to get a taste of it and try it out for themselves. Include some hints on possible obstacles and how to overcome them. And include enough information so they can explore it further through other sources if they like to.

Simple. Keep it simple. Keep the language simple (ordinary language, mostly active sentences). Keep the topics as simple as possible. That reveals the content more clearly and makes it more accessible. (If I notice an impulse to impress an imagined reader, that’s an invitation to explore where it’s coming from.)

Levels of abstraction. Ground the topics in specific (personal, real life) examples and the nitty-gritty, and show how it relates to more universal dynamics and patterns.

Connections. Reveal some of the connections to what I have written about before and also what’s out there in the world. It’s always based on something, and when it’s made explicit it helps others find and explore those sources.

Fresh. Keep it fresh and interesting for myself. Keep it authentic and from real life experiences. Venture one or a few steps into the white areas of my own maps. Take time to go a little beyond what I am familiar with. If what I write feels a bit boring or obvious, I can let the article rest while I explore the topic(s) further until it becomes more fresh, alive, and interesting to me.

Do I always do this? Not at all. Most of the time, I only touch on a few of these. But I would like to use these guidelines more actively when I write articles, which is why I am writing this post and make it public. It may help me stick to it.

And is this a complete list? Not at all.

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Revisiting topics

I tend to revisit topics here.

Most of the articles are one in an informal series of articles on a similar theme. Why? It helps me explore topics from what’s alive in me in the moment, and I may use a slightly different angle or add something I left out in previous articles. And since any topic is fresh for me in the moment, it comes with an impulse to write a few words even if I know I have written about it before.

And it goes back further, to a time this website didn’t exist. I am revisiting topics I wrote about in my paper journals in my teens and early twenties. The essence is much the same, although the wording and how I write about it has changed a bit. There has been an inevitable maturing and I refer more to different approaches and sometimes traditions.

Going even further back, I am revisiting the essence of what was alive for me as a child. The flashbacks and memories of between lives: oneness, all as consciousness, all as love, any being an expression of this oneness. That essence hasn’t changed.

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This writing: ebb and flow, going deeper, and questions

I haven’t written much here for the last few weeks.

Anything in life has its ebbs and flows, and so it is with this writing it seems. I did write daily for several years (often averaging three posts a day!) but more recently I have had more of the slower periods. It may be because of traveling and also feeling I need more intentional rest. It may also be because I find I am boring myself a bit when I write.

And that’s an invitation to go a bit deeper. To find ways to be more authentic in the writing. To write for me and not primarily for an audience. (Which, ironically, may make it more helpful to others.) To find a way for the writing to come more alive for me. To surprise myself. To dig a bit deeper.

Also, I find it easier to write in response to questions. So if you have any questions, please feel free to send them to me. There is a contact link on the top right.

Note: I have had this intention before, to dig a bit deeper when I write. One problem is that I then tend to end up with outlines that seem more for a book than a short article…! So we’ll see how it goes this time. If I ask my mind to dig deeper while keeping it short, it may be different. Often, it helps to plant little seeds of intention.

Update June 13, 2018: After writing this, it’s more clear to me that although I would like to go deeper in the writings (which doesn’t mean more complex or longer…!), that may not be what’s going on. My head seems about as clear (or not) as before, so it’s not that either. I am able to write down notes and ideas for posts and do it almost daily. And I could probably easily write posts similar to what I have already written because the content and form is familiar.

But something stops me from writing out articles right now. If I try, it feels like pulling teeth or wading through molasses, and I am not very happy with the result. My sense is that something is changing and reorienting in me, and just needs time. It’s happened before, and will probably happen again. And it just means the writing here slows down for a while, and then – most likely – picks up again.

I am reminded of the analogy of a seed. It’s best left alone, apart from providing some nourishment in form of air, water, soil, and sun. And so it feels with what’s reorganizing in me now. I don’t know what’s going on, really, or where it’s going, but it does feel like a maturing or perhaps also healing.

Brief pointers

My writing here tends to consist of brief and simple pointers.

Why? I suspect it’s a combination of reasons. Perhaps it’s because that’s what I seem to benefit the most from myself. Perhaps because it requires less effort. Perhaps because it leaves more room for own exploration and discovery.

And for others, and for me at other times, I know that something else may be more interesting and helpful. Perhaps more flowing and personal writing. Or more poetic and heartfelt writing. Or more detailed and comprehensive writing.

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Donate to Mystery of Existence

Due to a relatively high volume of visitors to this site, combined with having chosen to not put any advertisement here, it does cost more than I expected to host this website.

So, if you find the content here helpful or interesting, or something you would like to see around so others can benefit from it, would you consider making a donation? Any amount is welcome.

Thank you in advance! And, of course, I appreciate you as a visitor either way.

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Brief update

I am writing less now than I have previously. It’s not planned. It’s just what’s happening.

As usual, I can make up stories about it. I can say it’s because my system needs more rest and healing. Or I am prioritizing practical things in my life. Or I have said most of what I wanted to say. Or I am getting a bit bored with my own writing, I am not surprising myself as much as I would like to.

There may be something to each of those, but the reality is that I don’t know and I don’t really need to know. Life happens. I have stories about it. And it’s OK to see that those stories can be helpful while also not being “it”.

Blog update

Dear reader

Just a brief update to say I am still here. I seem to go through cycles of posting, and find myself in a more quiet phase where most of my time is spent on Vortex Healing for myself and others. I do have topics and ideas for several new posts and they will come up in the next few days and weeks. Also, if you have feedback or ideas for topics, send me a message.

Basic and simple

What I write about here tends to be very basic and simple. And I want it to be.

I want it to be basic, simple, practical, and useful.

When it is, it’s easier to apply.

What’s most helpful, is often quite simple.

Absent of I

What does “absent of I” mean?

Simply, it means that what I take myself to be is, when I look, unfindable. Whether what I take myself to be is a me or an I, a human self, a body, a deficient or inflated self, a doer, an observer, a soul, awareness, Spirit, or something else.

When I look, I cannot find any of these outside of images, words, or sensations. And those aren’t “it” either.

Unfindable doesn’t mean doesn’t exist. It just means unfindable.

P.S. The URL for this blog is absentofi.org

How I benefit from what others share

Whatever stories are here – about experiences, insights, pointers etc. – are really questions.

And when I share – or have an impulse to share – these, I sometimes notice hesitation.

Here are some of the fears and beliefs behind this hesitation:

 I am not qualified to share this. Others can do it better. What I say/write may put someone on a wrong track. It’s not an absolute truth, so there is no point sharing it. It’s better to be quiet. I am responsible for how it’s received. (What if what I write here is wrong, puts someone on the wrong track? I know everything here is provisional, stepping stones, so why write about it at all?) 

When these beliefs come up, I can take each one to inquiry and see what I find. And I also sometimes remind myself of how I benefit from what others say or write.

Here are some of the ways I benefit from what others share:

(a) I sometimes feel connected, it’s a relief to see that others are on a similar path.

(b) I may get pointers that are valuable to me.

(c) I sometimes explore the topic by fleshing it out for myself, use different perspectives, take it a step further, etc.

(d) I sometimes go to the TAs of what’s been said and find examples of how these are as or more true.

(e) I sometimes imagine beliefs behind what’s said or written, find a situation where I had those thoughts, and do inquiry.

These and some related inquiries brings me back to myself and reminds me that what I share is for my own benefit. And since I do it for myself, I wish it to be as clear and sincere as possible.

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Putting thoughts on paper

Often, the best advice is what we already know: It helps to put thoughts down on paper.

When I am caught up in stressful or churning thoughts, it helps to write them down. And when I experience a sense of unease or distress, it helps to identify the fearful and stressful thoughts behind it and write these down. Identifying the fearful thoughts behind unease brings what was nebulous into focus. Some stressful thoughts may appear a bit silly when put on paper, and the edge is taken off them. Writing stressful thoughts down relieves the mind from thinking it has to keep rehearsing and churning on them. And now that these thoughts are on paper, I can take them to inquiry.

It’s similar with insights. When I don’t write them down, the mind sometimes tells itself it needs to rehearse and remember them. When I write them down, the mind is more free to move on. (Of course, if I believe it’s an insight, it’s important etc., the mind will still stay somewhat glued to it.)

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Old blogs and rants

I just added a link to my old blogs in the about section, and thought I would add them here too.

Here is a list of my my old blogs, where the most interesting one may be the Rants. It’s mostly about US politics, and I see  lots of beliefs there!

I also have a few old essays listed, and these are also included and more easily read on this site.

Ecospirituality – an outline for a presentation I gave in Madison, Wisconsin.

Ecospirituality: an outline of a worldview – text fragments for an older website.

Ecopsychology, ecospirituality, deep ecology and health – a letter translated from Norwegian.

Økopsykologi, økospiritualityet, dypøkologi og helse – et åpent brev

Absent of I

Absent of I.

Variations:

(a) The sense of I is gone.

(Has happened at times.)

(b) Identification with the image of I is gone.

(Happens now and then.)

(c) Identification may be here, and recognized as simply identification.

(More current.)

(d) Identification is here, sometimes recognized as simply identification and sometimes not.

(Yes.)

Writing from and for the most unclear parts

I sometimes write from a more wise, experienced and clear part of me, and notice it doesn’t feel quite right. What’s more interesting to me now is to welcome and write from and to the confused parts. One form that takes is asking myself, how is it to meet this with kindness? Another is through identifying beliefs, write them down (here and on paper), and take them to inquiry (most often in person with someone).

Larger than the largest Santa’s elf gathering….

Wow. According to Alexa, this blog has about 850 visitors daily, which – according to Webempires – is larger than the population of Vatican City, and also larger than the largest Santa’s elf gathering (607 Santa’s elves on November 7, 2009).  Whenever I think of the readers from now on, I’ll visualize 850 Santa’s elves.

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This blog

I notice that I hesitate publishing most of the posts I write here, and leave them as unpublished drafts.

When I look further, I find two reasons, two unexamined beliefs.

I need to be careful about what I write. Yes, that is true. Some folks will take whatever they read or hear as true, just because they want to. It is good to be responsible, try to be as accurate and consientious as possible, and make it as useful as possible. But I can also trust that just like me, most people are discriminating and actively wrestle with and process what they read and hear. And whether we actively digest or not, life will hold up a mirror to us and present us with feedback and opportunities to notice, learn, and grow.

I need to be better informed, more experience, and further digest the material before I put it down. Yes, that is true as well. I write about things I am not trained in, and have not explored nearly as much as I could. It is good to notice and acknowledge to myself and others. And yet, these are just personal explorations. And it is fine to write from a place that is somewhat uninformed, inexperienced, and half-digested. It is inevitable in a relative and conventional sense, since someone – usually a large group of people – are more experienced, better informed, and have digested whatever it may be far more thoroughly than I have. And it is inevitable in an absolute sense in that we all, even the most experienced and insightful, just barely scratch the surface of what is there.

This is all part of my conscious view on the world. But somewhere in me, it hasn’t quite sunk in. It is still not quite processed and there is still some lack of clarity. there is room for allowing it to sink in, and for more parts to reorganize and realign.

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Simplicity for simple minded folks

Very occasionally, I go to my Feedly and enjoy taking a look at a variety of blogs, including some on integral and Buddhist topics.

It is a good reminder that all blogs find their own niche. Many Buddhist and integral blogs do sophisticated and in-depth analysis of a variety topics, and offer an important and compassionate service that way. I enjoy reading it, and find a great deal of appreciation for what they do.

And in some ways, it makes it clearer to me that this blog is more about simplicity. Simple and often obvious reminders, which is what I need in my own life right now.

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Why this blog?

Why am I writing this blog?

The honest answer is that I don’t know. So it is good I don’t really need to know.

I used to have a paper journal, and then decided to move it to this blog to see what would happen. Would I connect with like minded people? Would I get “hey stupid” type comments, or at least alternative perspectives, which would help me recognize something new about a topic or myself? Would it help me move beyond where I am?

I did make some connections. Disappointingly few leave “hey stupid” type comments, so not much to learn there. And I am not sure if it has helped me move beyond where I am, although it may have in some areas.

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Self-indulgent, and also universal?

A rambling post…..

Blogs – including this one – can easily be seen as self-indulgent and self-absorbed, an expression of our individualistic and navel-gazing contemporary culture, and so on. All of that may be true. I often have the thought that this blog is way too self-absorbed.

And yet, if it also is universal – a mirror for what is going on here and for also for others – it may be interesting and even at times helpful.

It also seems that there are two ways of being self-absorbed.

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WordPress housekeeping

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MoE mysteriously went down last night, and it turned out to be a simple problem: 

After several years of use, the MySQL tables needed repair.

I had neglected doing this (even if I do it regularly when I work on desktop databases), problems accumulated behind the scenes, and something eventually broke down giving me a message to upgrade the database…

Database Upgrade Required. Your WordPress database is out-of-date, and must be upgraded before you can continue. The upgrade process may take a while, so please be patient.

And then a long list of error messages when I did…

WordPress database error: [MySQL server has gone away]

The fix is simple and explained here: How To Quickie: Repair MySQL Tables.

(Thank God for friendly and helpful folks at the WP user forum.)

donations now accepted

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From my days in the non-profit world, I learned that there are many out there who have surplus money and look for somewhere to invest it. So here it goes: an opportunity to donate to Mystery of Existence. And I thought, if I am going to welcome donations, why not offer a wide range of options.

🙂

I should be honest here and say that I although I live frugally (by choice), I have what I need materially. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t appreciate a surprise which pays for another year of blog hosting, a cup of tea, or a retreat…!

Upgrade

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I am upgrading to WP 2.7 so things may go out of whack for a few hours.

I did a manual upgrade this time (have used Fantastico in the past), and it was painless and quick. Was able to do it while waiting for the dinner to be ready, with time to spare. And the new admin interface looks great. 

If you are looking for a blog platform, you can’t go wrong with WordPress – either using their free hosting system at www.wordpress.com or installing WP with your own domain name and using a paid hosting service.